ISA Book Highlights Need for Automated Safety Systems in Nuclear Power Plants

The International Society of Automation (ISA) has published a new book that declares that another nuclear power plant catastrophe is inevitable unless these facilities adopt fully automated safety systems.

“Automation Can Prevent the Next Fukushima” by Béla G. Lipták explains that while the automation technology exists to prevent the vast majority of nuclear reactor disasters, the world’s nuclear energy facilities continue to rely on human operators to monitor plant conditions and manually take corrective safety measures when needed.

“It’s not a question of if, but only of when the next major nuclear power plant disaster will occur,” insists Lipták who, as president of Lipták Associates, advises energy firms and other companies on critical safety, pollution and environmental issues. “The seriousness of this ominous forecast could be much reduced if the nuclear power industry fully embraced automation safety. The safety controls of the 438 nuclear power plants that operate around the world today are outdated. Their designs are based primarily on manual operation. These plants need to be updated with safety systems that are fully automated.”

Lipták claims that automated safety systems would have prevented the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. He notes that even less sweeping improvements—such as redundant or self-diagnosing sensors and control panels with graphic displays—might have averted these incidents.

In his book, Lipták recommends that operating licenses or license extensions for nuclear power plants be approved only if the facilities meet certain design and automation requirements.

For more information or to purchase a copy of the book, visit www.isa.org/PR13/Books/Fukushima.

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